Plaster vs. Drywall Soundproofing

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Though it's the denser choice, plaster often cracks after years of use.

Whether you’re trying to create a home theater room or you simply want more privacy, the material you use to construct your home’s walls will affect how soundproof it is. Both drywall and plaster are used to create a sound barrier, though plaster will be the denser material and usually blocks more sound.

  1. Identification

    • In designing a home for better soundproofing, you need to look at three components of sound travel: absorption, isolation and density. Isolating noise is usually difficult in a home setting because rooms are spaced close together and homes often have several open areas. Plaster and drywall, the materials used to create walls in the home, then, help absorb the sound. The denser the material, the better the soundproofing will usually be.

    Plaster

    • Though it is a more expensive option, plaster is the more soundproof material in home construction when compared to basic drywall. Most modern plaster compounds are made with gypsum, and they require three coats to apply. The plaster comes as a powder and water is added to create the compound. The three coats will typically make a thicker wall than its drywall counterpart, so this will provide a better sound barrier. Despite the fact that plaster provides better soundproofing, it is not as popular as drywall. It takes longer to apply, and usually costs more, too.

    Drywall

    • Though not as thick as plaster, drywall can add some protection against sound, and it’s the preferred method for walls in most construction situations. It is less expensive than plaster and doesn’t take as much expertise or skill to install. The pieces of drywall that are attached to metal studs, however, don’t have anything to absorb sound well. Though drywall is the less expensive choice, there are often costs to add soundproofing materials, such as resilient metal channels that go between the drywall layers to reduce sound.

    Considerations

    • Manufacturers have created plaster and drywall that is specifically designed for soundproofing. For instance, drywall manufacturers have introduced technology that will keep their drywall panels thin but still provide adequate noise reduction that is commonly found in other materials that are specifically used for soundproofing, such as mass-loaded vinyl and soundboard. Those interested in plaster can increase the soundproof qualities of the material with a soundproof plasterboard type of material.

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